I was going to expand on copyright abandonment and orphaned copyrights but it is way too complicated for here. I pulled the other article as too many questions are being asked. This can be very complicated or very simple. If you have a question I suggest you consulting a copyright attorney. As always, tell them the truth and all of it, not your truth but all of it. One little detail can change the whole picture. I will put this out there for you. The orphaned copyrights describe copyrights that no one can locate the author/creator for a period of time. You need to make sure that you keep your information with the USCO current, at least an email. Worldwide this is an issue and is being addressed in different manners in different countries. The US is working on it.
Abandonment of personal property which copyright is a totally different game. Some will say that the copyright stays in effect. I find nothing that states that. I find a lot in the state laws that covers ALL personal property. It seems that the feds have left it to the states to deal with all personal property and the feds have defined copyrights as being personal property.
With that in mind I will make a example here.
IF you get a notice and fail to respond then under the personal property provisions it could be considered abandoned property and the rights could be lost. Depending on the state where the action occurrs it can take as little as 10 days. The rules are pretty simple, if you walk away from it you lose it. About the only stipulation is they must have tried to contact you. That is when the orphaned issue comes up. If they send you a notice, email, written even a text message and you do not respond it is assumed that you have no interest or continue to wish to own the copyright of the items in question and thusly you lose the copyright if someone else wants it.
If you notice there is a large difference here, one is they cannot locate you and the other is they locate you and you chose not to claim or not to respond. One is now an orphan and the other is abandoned.
(d) Transfer of Ownership. — US Copyright Law Chapter 2
(1) The ownership of a copyright may be transferred in whole or in part by any means of conveyance or by operation of law, and may be bequeathed by will or pass as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession.
Notice the words operation of law, does not say federal and the applicable laws of succession which are state laws. The states cannot dictate the federal regulations on copyrights but personal property rights belong to the state. You need to remember that.
Also notice this does not apply to infringed copyrights, stolen images and files or other matter of illegal activity. You maintain the copyright unless you give it up or by some action of law, including state law.
Keep it straight and you will be fine.
As far as the infringements go I am not commenting on them at this time. This covers all of them. People will get notices and letters as things are worked. There is a lot of them. Many I have allowed to use the photos if they are for a good cause. A couple sites used one for Ocean Day and Beach Cleanup. Other used it for Earth Day so those are worthwhile causes so they get a free ride. Others are not going to be so lucky.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. These are my personal opinions and general information. They are not legal advice and should not be used as such.